By Mustapha Jallow
Alhagi Ousman Sawaneh, the Imam of Kanifing South Mosque, is still underImam Sawaneh of Kanifing South Mosque
detention without trial at the remote Janjangbureh prison in the
Central River Region (CRR) for 88 days today without any access to him
by his family, according to one of his sons.He said the long detention of their father and
the denial of access to him are causing serious hardships to the family as the detainee is the breadwinner of the family.

“We don’t know what our father has done for him to be kept away this
long and why we are denied access to him at his place of
detention which is far away in Janjangbureh,” lamented the distraught
young son of the detained Imam.

He said they are worried about the state of health or physical and
psychological condition of their father as they do not know under what
condition he is being held in prison since they are denied access to
see him.

“We’ve made several unsuccessful attempts to have access to him but
the prison wardens would not allow us to see our father,” said the
young man.

He said the family is appealing to the authorities to secure the
release of their loved one to enable him to reunite with his family
and the Muslim congregation as an Imam.

Imam Sawaneh was picked up by unidentified men in civilian clothes
around 10 am on Sunday, 18 October, 2015, while leading a team of
workers to clear the grass in the Kanifing South Cemetery. His
whereabouts were not initially known to the family but he was later
traced at the NIA headquarters in Banjul. He was later transferred to
Janjanbureh Prison in the Central River Region (CRR) on the 27th
October, 2015 where he is still held without access to his family.

Imam Sawaneh’s incommunicado detention is beyond the 72 hours limit enshrined in Section 19 of the Second Republic Constitution of The
Gambia which states that “Any person who is arrested or detained… who
is not released, shall be brought without undue delay before a court
of law and, in any event, within 72 hours.”